May 30, 2023

Study looks at next stage of Indianapolis highway development

INDOT presentation of the ProPEL study. (Photo INDOT)

INDOT presentation of the ProPEL study. (Photo INDOT)

A new study was recently launched by INDOT to begin planning for the next phase of interstate redevelopment.

The ProPEL Indy study starts the design process for highways inside the I-465 loop. The current system was built more than 40 years ago, when this type of planning did not happen. That process, especially in downtown, resulted in highways cutting through historic neighborhoods and the displacement of communities. 

The effort is being led by the Indiana Department of Transportation. INDOT Commissioner Mike Smith said this initiative aims to modernize interstates for everyone.

“At the end of the day safety, operability and getting goods,services and people where they need to go is going to be a collective mission,” Smith said.

The study will focus on I-65 and I-70 routes that crisscross the city. INDOT will engage the public by reaching out for ideas and solutions. Transportation upgrades will include considerations of quality of life, economic mobility and equity.

Conversations with a wide variety of key stakeholders and community representatives are planned to generate ideas. Listening sessions and an online survey will also be offered. Smith said this is a key part of the process.

“I think we've got stakeholders far, wide and near that should have a say in what we are going to do,” Smith said.

Solutions will still focus on the options that are most feasible. A separate study is currently underway for the South Split. A reconstructed North Split recently reopened.

Planning and Environment Linkage, or PEL, studies are federal programs that guide interstate improvement. INDOT will look at transportation, environmental, community, and economic goals.

Contact WFYI city government and policy reporter Jill Sheridan at jsheridan@wfyi.org. Follow on Twitter: @JillASheridan.

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